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Women’s Lacrosse: Irish improve to 4-0 on year

Christopher Williams | Monday, March 6, 2006

The No. 17 Notre Dame women knocked off No. 18 Cornell, 17-15, Sunday afternoon at Loftus Sports Center, winning another close match-up against a top-ranked team.

As the season continues to unfold, the 4-0 Irish have continued to live up to their hype.

Attack Crysti Foote once again led Notre Dame’s offensive onslaught, with five goals and three assists.

Sophomores Caitlin McKinney and Mary Carpenter also had outstanding games with five and three goals, respectively. It was Carpenter’s first hat trick.

The Irish exploded out of the gates, netting four goals in the contest’s first nine minutes as Foote, McKinney and a pair of freshmen – Jill Byers and Alicia Billings – all beat Cornell goalie Maggie Fava.

Trailing 4-1, Cornell’s Courtney Farrell knotted the score at 4-4 with three goals in a 1:03 minute span. Having lost their three-goal cushion, the Irish went right back to work, scoring five of the game’s next six goals to build a 9-5 advantage.

Leading 11-8 at the break, Notre Dame would build a 17-11 lead before allowing the Big Red to score the last four tallies of the game.

Foote said perhaps the secret to the team’s vigor is its intense, new team workout, an exercise for both the body and spirit.

“Coming off such a bad season last year, we all re-committed ourselves to working hard,” she said. “We have 6 a.m. runs and lifts and continue to work hard everyday.”

Another reason for the Irish’s early success could be the immediate impact of the talented freshman class. Notre Dame’s freshmen, most notably Jillian Byers, have continued to perform.

Dubbed “mouth” by her teammates, Byers has quickly adapted to the college game and will give the Irish offensive dominance for years to come.

“Well, [the transition to college lacrosse is] tough,” Byers said. “It is a totally different game. It is much quicker and more physical. It is not like there are just a few good girls playing on each team,” Byers said.

In their second game this week, the Irish will face Lehigh University at home on Wednesday.

“We have a hard week coming up,” Foote said. “We are definitely excited to see how we do. I know if we continue to play we’ve been playing, that we’ll come away with a win.”